Friday, September 23, 2016

TheBalm 40-50% off on HauteLook

Disclosure: Referral links.
When I want something from TheBalm, I wait for it to reappear on HauteLook, as they do several times a year, rather than trying to take part in their biannual 50% off sales. (Was it the usual clusterfuck last time? I didn't pay attention.) So here you go. They even have that Meet Matte(e) Trimony eyeshadow palette that everyone has been cooing over on sale for half price. If you can wear reddish eyeshadow, go for it (I can't). TheBalm has the worst, most nonsensical puns, but they do make good makeup in my experience. Anything tempting you from this sale?

I am finally getting into the groove of my new job, so I should be able to resume blogging with some kind of regularity. (That may be a total lie. Time will tell.)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Jack of all trades? Bite Beauty Multisticks in Blondie, Macaroon, and Cocoa

Disclosure: Affiliate links. Provided free for review.
Bite Beauty Multisticks in Blondie, Macaroon, and Cocoa
When I saw the first reviews of the Bite Multisticks, my initial thought was that they weren't for me. I've never had particularly good luck with multi-use products. When something is intended to be used on both lips and cheeks, it tends to be either too drying on the lips or too hard to blend on the cheeks. I think this is the first time I have encountered a product designed for use on lips, cheeks, and eyes, which is even a taller order.

Of course, as soon as I dismissed the product, Influenster promptly sent me three--Blondie, Cocoa, and Macaroon (yes, it is spelled that way)--to test and review. Okay. A challenge! My thought was that these Multisticks would be ideal for travel. Not only would a single product that you could use on eyes, lips, and cheeks make for some very compact packing, but also when I travel, I like to pack as few brushes as possible, so I like cream products that can be applied with fingers. What is especially nice about the Bite Multisticks is that they have study magnetic lids. You don't even have to push the cap all the way on. Just slide it part way, let go, and it snaps right in place. That would be great for ensuring that it wouldn't come open in your bag and make a mess.

Unfortunately, these sticks fit in with my general experience of multi-use makeup. They work okay for each purpose, but they aren't spectacular for any of them. While I like the idea of getting several uses out of a single item, it's pretty rare.

Bite describes these sticks as having "35 percent powder," which . . . . okay, sure. But they do have a different texture from most matte lipsticks, and describing it as more powdery seems accurate enough. Unlike some of the other Bite lipsticks, these sticks are not scented.

When I tested the Multisticks, I applied them all using just the stick itself with my fingers to blend, going along with my idea that they would be best suited to travel. Indeed, this is the best method I've found for application. Trying to apply them with a brush makes them very sheer and patchy. Unfortunately the shape of the stick makes it a bit tricky to apply to the eyelid, but it's still the best method if you want as much saturation and opacity as possible.

The colors I received are interesting, but unfortunately none of them quite works on all three of my features. Blondie is a beige with more yellow-brown than peach in it, which just doesn't work well as lipstick or blush with my coloring, though it's quite nice on my eyes. Cocoa is a dark brown that is basically a much deeper version of Blondie, i.e. more yellow than red in the brown. It's too dark for my cheeks, and while I can wear it on my lips, it's not a look I would choose. So that's limited to just eyeshadow too. Macaroon is a nice, rosy pink. It's not the perfect pink lipstick for me, but it's wearable, and it makes a nice blush. I also tried it as eyeshadow, (photos later in the post) and while it wasn't as terrible as I'd expected, I doubt that it's something I'll wear on a regular basis. I've been following Temptalia's swatches of the different shades as they appear, looking for one that I think I could truly use for all three things (lips, cheeks, eyes), and the only one that seems likely is the purple Nectar, which would make an unusual but maybe interesting blush. The rest seem either too brown for my lips or too pink/red for my eyes. For those of you who can really pull of brown lipstick or pink/red eyeshadow, however, there are a lot of options!

Swatches and photos. Let's start with Blondie. I compared it with the closest products I had, and you can see that it's really true beige, rather than being peachy like most other brown/beige/nude products I have.

Swatches of Bite Multistick in Blondie, Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Maple Kiss, ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Kitty, and Milani Shadow Eyez Pencil in Almond Cream

Left to right above: Bite Multistick in Blondie, Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Maple Kiss, ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Kitty, and Milani Shadow Eyez Pencil in Almond Cream.

On my lips:

Bite Beauty Multistick Blondie

I had no real complaints about the application or wear of Blondie as a lipstick. It's easy to apply in one opaque layer, though the blunt stick isn't the easiest to use precisely. It was comfortable and not drying, despite the "35 percent powder" content. It's just the color that I don't like on me.

On my eyes:

Bite Beauty Multistick Blondie

Bite Beauty Multistick Blondie

This I liked better than I expected to. It's subtle, but pretty. It did crease after a few hours (over primer), but it's light enough that it wasn't too noticeable.

I found that of the three shades I received, Blondie is the least slippery, with means it doesn't settle into lines on lips easily and it doesn't crease as badly as the others on my eyelids. That also means, however, that it's more difficult to blend as a blush. It's actually a very good color for a bronzer on me, but I found it nearly impossible to blends smoothly enough to not look patchy. I'll stick with powder bronzers on the rare occasions that I use them.

Next up, Macaroon. One of the thing Bite advertises for the Multisticks is that you can use them to create a monochromatic look, which is cool in theory, but as I said, you have to be able to use one color all over your face. Macaroon was my best bet, so I gave it a shot.

Like I said, it wasn't as bad as I'd expected, but that's a bit too much pink for me. Macaroon has the most slip, so it blends beautifully as a blush, but the slipperiness also causes Macaroon to settle into lip lines a bit. On the other hand, it is a comfortable and quite long-wearing matte lipstick.

On the lips:

Bite Beauty Multistick Macaroon

On the eyes:

Bite Beauty Multistick Macaroon

Bite Beauty Multistick Macaroon

Here are some comparisons with Macaroon. It's very, very close to Tom Ford Pussycat, if you've been looking for a cheaper dupe.

Swatches of Bite Multistick in Macaroon, Maybelline Creamy Matte in Lust for Blush, Maybelline Creamy Matte in Touch of Spice, Wet N Wild Megalast Lipstick in Rose-bud, Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture, L'Oreal La Laque in Choco-laque, and Tom Ford Pussycat

Left to right above: Bite Multistick in Macaroon, Maybelline Creamy Matte in Lust for Blush, Maybelline Creamy Matte in Touch of Spice, Wet N Wild Megalast Lipstick in Rose-bud, Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture, L'Oreal La Laque in Choco-laque, and Tom Ford Pussycat.

And finally, Cocoa, which only works as an eyeshadow on me. It's definitely brown! I don't have any comparable lipsticks at all.

Left to right above: Bite Multistick in Cocoa, Milani Shadow Eyez Pencil in Cafe au Lait, and Maybelline Creamy Matte in Divine Wine.

On my lips:

It applied nicely and wears well. It's just not a great color for me.

On my eyes (the photos were taken within minutes of applying it, over primer, so you can see that the creasing is pretty immediate):

Despite the creasing and patchiness, I did like how it looked when applied from the stick and blended with a finger. It reminded me that I should use a wash of dark, matte brown more often as a simple eyeshadow look.

Cocoa also works very well as a cream base to intensify powder eyeshadows. When used that way (over primer) it doesn't crease at all. But I wouldn't buy a $24 product solely to use as a base for other shadows, especially since I still have to use a primer.

Unfortunately, none of these three shades is really a triple-threat for me. I think if you can find a shade that works that way for you, then you can get a lipstick, blush/contour, and cream eyeshadow base from it. But since it needs to be topped with powder eyeshadow, it's not a perfect travel product that eliminates the need to pack additional eyeshadow and brushes. In the end, I found the Multisticks fun to experiment with and better than I'd hoped (especially as a lipstick formula), but they're certainly not going to replace dedicated eyeshadows, blushes, or lipsticks in my hoard.

I am thinking that a combination of Cocoa and Blondie could be used to make a pretty great sepia Halloween costume, though . . .

Have you ever found a multi-use product that actually excelled at multiple things? Any interest in the Bite Multisticks? Is there a color there that you could use for that cool, grungy monochromatic look?

(By the way, I got these from Influenster. Anyone can sign up--it's not a blogger thing, though you do need to use social media.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Celebrity skin

I found this website, Celebrity Close-Up, via Tumblr today, which is just a series of photos of celebrity faces zoomed in close enough that you can see all the detail and texture of their makeup and skin. I'm not in it to make fun of anyone, but it's reassuring to be reminded that everyone, even Beyonce (gasp!), has pores and spots and/or visible foundation. And that our quest for invisible but flawless base makeup is bound to fail if even these people don't have access to such a thing.

Plus, there are some excellent sources of makeup inspiration here, and you can see how the products were applied in detail.

Be warned: there is a Trump close-up on the first page!

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Wedding Makeup

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
I got married back in the spring in about the smallest wedding you can have and still invite people. It was held in a park and took about half an hour. And then there were 20 minutes of photos, which we didn't originally plan to do, but the mothers outvoted us. I did my own makeup and hair, but since the photography was limited, there are no closeups of my makeup.

I went completely matchy-matchy and coordinated all of my makeup with my dress and cardigan (it was too early in the spring for no sleeves!). I got my dress from ModCloth (this one, which is unfortunately sold out at the moment), and it was perfect. In most of my photos my bouquet is blocking the front of the dress, so enjoy this goofy pose where you can see what it actually looked liked. (FYI, tulips droop very quickly once you remove them from water. Good thing it was a short ceremony!)

I wanted to record my makeup here mainly for myself, so I can remember what I did, because I was happy with the results. This is certainly not meant to be a tutorial. Since I don't have detailed photos of my actual wedding day makeup, I've illustrated this post with the photos I took of my trial makeup runs (complete with unfortunate reflections on my glasses).Almost everything in the trial photos is the same as what I actually ended up using, except for my lipstick. In the first trial run (i.e. the first two photos), I used Urban Decay Matte Revolution lipstick in Bad Blood (swatched here). For the second trial run, the third photo, I used NYX Matte Lipstick in Perfect Red. For my actual wedding day, I picked up something more kiss-proof: Stila liquid lipstick in Fiery. Swatches later in the post!

My first trial run happened before I dyed my hair, as you can no doubt tell, and the second was after. My hair color in the photo below is L'Oreal Superior Preference in Dark Soft Mahogany Brown. The color in the two photos above is the same dye after about 4-5 months of fading/growth.

Here's a list of all the makeup I used. It felt like a ton, and there are a lot of products involved, but in photos I don't think it looks like too much. The best part is that I bought only one new product (the Stila lipstick)--everything else was stuff I already had. In fact, several of the things I used are among the oldest makeup products I own. Something old, I guess!

Face (in order of application)


On my brows I used:

On my eyes I used:

The only difference between the eye detail above and what I actually used on my wedding day is that I was testing out Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly during this trial run. As you can see, it creased, so I went with my usual Sephora Gel Serum concealer on the day itself.


Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery

I really loved the look of Urban Decay Bad Blood, and my husband gamely agreed that he would wipe any lipstick smeared on his face off before we got our photos taken, but a few days before the wedding, I decided to get a more transfer-proof liquid lipstick instead. Stila Fiery turns out to be almost identical in color to Bad Blood, but it won't come off on your bride or groom's lips. I was a bit wary when I bought it, because as a rule I don't like liquid lipstick. This stuff is easy to apply--it's not runny and it only requires one coat for full opacity. It's also surprisingly comfortable. I'm pretty intolerant of lipstick formulas that are at all drying, and for me, this one isn't. It also doesn't flake off or wear away in an ugly way. It wore away a bit in the center of my mouth during our very rich wedding meal (shepherd's pie!), but it was easy to retouch. I really can't think of any criticism, which isn't something I ever thought I'd say about a liquid lipstick. I don't even regret that I paid full price for it (gasp!).

I used Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Ravish (another oldie) to clean up the edges--I recreated my technique recently for the photo above. Ravish is a dark brick red. I really like using a darker lipliner with a red lipstick. Not only does it add dimension (kind of like contouring your lips, I guess), it also makes red lips appear less stark. It sounds strange, but if you find even the most flattering shades of red a bit intimidating or jarring when you put them on, try lining it with a slightly darker shade and see if it looks more harmonious.

Here are some swatches: (left to right) Stila Fiery, Urban Decay Bad Blood, NYX Perfect Red, and Rimmel liner in Ravish.

swatches of Stila Fiery, Urban Decay Bad Blood, NYX Perfect Red, and Rimmel liner in Ravish.

 Here's a detail I cropped out of a group photo from the wedding, which gives you an idea of how it ended up:

There it is! My long belated wedding makeup post. Our wedding was just what we had in mind, and I'm pleased that I've learned to do my own makeup well enough that I was able to do it myself for this occasion. To be honest, whenever I've had my makeup done by someone else for other weddings, I've never really been satisfied with it. My technique isn't flawless, but at least I got exactly what I wanted (and no false lashes!!).

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Wet N Wild Color Icon Blush in Pearlescent Pink vs. the old Pearlescent Pink

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Comparison of New Wet N Wild Color Icon Blush in Pearlescent Pink vs. the old Pearlescent Pink
Top: New Wet N Wild Color Icon Blush in Pearlescent Pink; bottom: the old Pearlescent Pink
So this is kind of fun: Racked recently linked to an old post of mine, where I complained that people kept calling Milani Luminoso an Orgasm dupe, when it obviously isn't, in their article about the rise of makeup dupe culture. So it seems like a good time to publish this post on another supposed-but-not-actual dupe for Orgasm: Wet N Wild Pearlescent Pink.

Wet N Wild recently reformulated their Color Icon blushes and redesigned the packaging. Some of the new blushes, including Pearlescent Pink, have the same names as the old ones, and there are also some new shades. The old Pearlescent Pink is one of my favorite blushes, but I could tell as soon as I looked at the new one on the store shelf that it wasn't the same, as I'm sure you can see in the photo above. It's weird talking about "dupes" when the two things are being presented as the same product, but this blush is not a dupe of itself. So I bought it (because why wouldn't I buy a blush that looks nothing like another blush I that really like?). Here's a comparison for you. Swatches first: (left to right) new Pearlescent Pink, old Pearlescent Pink, and Nars Orgasm.

Swatches of new Wet N Wild Pearlescent Pink, old Pearlescent Pink, and Nars Orgasm

Clearly neither of these is an Orgasm dupe, and to the overly picky eye of a makeup hoarder, the new and old Pearlescent Pinks are completely different. While the old one isn't exactly pearlescent (rather it has some gold sparkle in it), the new one is neither pearlescent nor pink. It's firmly in peach category. You can see the difference on my face, too.

Old Pearlescent Pink, which on me is a flattering shade of pink that looks like a natural flush:

New Pearlescent Pink, which isn't a bad blush color, but is so peachy it actually leans toward nude/beige on my face:

The formulas of the old and new versions are similar in some ways. They're both soft and kick up quite a bit of powder when you stick your brush in them. They both have some sparkle. The old version is more pigmented, so that I have to use a light touch, whereas I've found that I actually need to build up the new one a bit to get the look I want. How pigmented you want your blush to be is a matter of preference. It's easier to add more layers than to remove it if you go overboard, but it can also be more work to get a visible flush if a blush is too sheer. On the plus side, the new blush is a bit bigger at 0.2 oz. to the old 0.14 oz for the same price ($2.99). It's pretty rare that a makeup company redesigns packaging and actually gives you more product.

The new blush is fine, but I'm annoyed that my old favorite is gone and that they're pretending this new one is somehow the same thing. It's not fucking pink. It's a different product, so it should have a different name. I probably have a few good years left with my original Pearlescent Pink, since it's a huge pan (even in the old size) and I only need to use a very small amount at a time. If, however, you like it as much as I do and want to stock up while you still can, Amazon still has the old Pearlescent Pink available for under $5 with free shipping.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sephora has some good sales right now

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
I'm trying to save my money, so I am just going to do some fantasy shopping and inflict it on anyone who cares to read about it. The sale section on Sephora's website is full of things I'd like to try if I gave myself free rein. Of course, even in my fantasy, I only pick out things that have great reviews and are a good deal/significantly marked down.

The Urban Decay Electric palette is on sale for 50% off at $24. I've heard lots of people who use bright eyeshadows say that this palette is one of their favorites. I don't wear bright shadows often, but maybe I should? The indigo and teal shades definitely speak to me.

Urban Decay Electric palette $24
From Urban Decay, they also have the Spectrum palette marked down to $29 for a mix of brights and neutrals that might be more versatile. And the excellent Primer Potion in the discontinued packaging is only $10.

Other interesting looking palettes with a significant mark-down are the Bareminerals Neutral Attraction palette ($29) and Make Up Forever Artist Palette V. 2 ($34).

The mini sets of Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks and Formula X nail polishes (that I heard about from Auxiliary Beauty) are on sale for $7.50 a set, or you can get 3 of each for $14.75. I haven't tried anything from KVD, actually, but I've liked all the Formula X polishes I've used.

Studded X set $14.75

Speaking of Formula X, a whole bunch of the polishes are marked down to $5 a bottle, which is a great price. There are some really interesting and unusual nail polishes in that line.

Formula X Capricious

A lot of Tarte stuff is also on sale, including the LipSurgence Lip Tints (which are horrendously overpriced at their full price but otherwise nice) for $12 and the Cheek Stains for $16.

If you tend to place more than two online orders from Sephora per year, it's really worth it to buy the $10 flash shipping for a year. Also, I think it saves me a little money because I don't become obsessed with adding random shit to my cart to meet the free shipping minimum of $50. Although I have to admit that I usually try to get to $25 in order to get one of the GWPs from the specials page (you can find these right at the bottom of the site on the right side at the Weekly Specials link), if there's anything interesting there.

So I've added a bunch of this stuff to my cart, and now my plan is to ignore it until: (a) I get bored with these things and don't want them anymore; (b) I have more room in my budget for makeup shopping; or (c) they all sell out. I'm guessing that (c) is the most likely to happen first.

How about you? Anything look good? Is that Electric palette really as much fun as I've heard?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bad Impulse: Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

My local CVS had all of its Milani lip products marked down to $2.99 the other day. I'd hear good things about their matte lipsticks (including that they lack the nauseating watermelon stench of the regular lipsticks), but the selection remaining on the rack was pretty skimpy. Nevertheless, I was in a Just Buy Something, Anything sort of mood, and also still regretting that I hadn't picked up Urban Decay's orange Revolution Lipstick in Tilt when it was marked down, so I grabbed Matte Luxe on impulse.

Bad impulse. It's terrible. I returned it to get my precious 3 bucks back--which is why the photos here are so bad. I had to take them indoors on a gloomy day before I took it back.

It's not just the true orange lipstick looks terrible on me and I should know that by now. The formula of this stuff is abysmal. It's as though it doesn't adhere to the surface of the lips at all, but only gets caught up in lines and dry patches. My lips were not even particularly dry the day I took this photo, but this lipstick will find any flake it can.

Milani Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Matte Luxe

I think the blurriness of the photo is actually making it look better than it did in person. You can't really see the completely bare patches that were left in between the streaks.

And yes, I can't wear oranges that lean too far yellow rather than pink or red. I should stick to red-oranges or corals. In my defense, it looked redder in the store lighting. This shade drains all the color out of my face--and that, combined with the awful texture, makes me look like I've contracted some particularly strange disease.

Here's a comparison with some red-orange and coral lipsticks, which I can actually wear:

Swatches of Milani Matte Luxe, Wet N Wild Purty Persimmon, BareMinerals Light It Up, and NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie

Left to right: Milani Matte Luxe, Wet N Wild Purty Persimmon, BareMinerals Light It Up, and NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie.

The experience just reinforces my general rule banning impulse purchases of products that I haven't seen reviewed. And also that just because some shades in a range are beloved and positively reviewed doesn't mean that the quality is consistent for the rest of them. Of course. I guess the fact that this shade was left behind and most of the nudes and pinks were gone was a sign.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $10 and other Urban Decay deals and free stuff (plus another duochrome!)

Disclosure: Affiliate/referral links.
HauteLook has 28 shades of the discontinued Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $9.97 each. I highly recommend Rapture and the matte After Dark. I was hoping that they'd have Tilt, since I missed out on that one in the sales during the spring, but since they don't appear to, I will probably sit this one out. (Ulta has marked them back up to $21 for some reason.) Shipping for beauty products from HauteLook is about $6 and you usually have to wait a couple of weeks for your order to ship.

cheap and free Urban Decay deals

Since I got the order pictured above in the mail yesterday, I figured I'd make this post completely Urban Decay-themed. I got everything shown there for $10. It's actually just 4 items, but still! From upper left going clockwise: travel-size Perversion mascara, eyeshadow single in Sideline, blush sample card, and 7 eyeshadow samples cards with a primer sample.

The way to do this is to sign up for Urban Decay Junkies program, which is free. By doing so, you get free shipping on every order, and you get a free eyeshadow single of your choice (regular price $19) during your birthday month with any full-price order. That includes travel-size products, so I picked out the Perversion mascara, which I've had samples of before and really liked. One of these mini tubes lasts me at least three months, which is when you're usually advised to toss mascaras (though I rarely adhere to that rule). Anyway, I get about as much use out of it before it dries up as I do a full-size mascara. The free sample cards were added to my cart when I checked. And let me repeat: free shipping!

You also earn points for purchases and other things like posting reviews, referrals, and connecting your social media accounts. The points can be redeemed for $10 and $20 rewards toward purchases on the site. It's a pretty good program. I don't know if I'll make many other orders, but it's worth signing up for the birthday gift alone.

Finally, swatches of Urban Decay Sideline, since of course I chose a duochrome as my free eyeshadow. It's a peachy gold with a green shift. The green is really vibrant in person, but for some reason it doesn't come across strongly in my photos.

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

[Note: I also took new photos of the Maybelline duochrome Color Tattoo for my recent duochrome eyeshadows post. They still don't show it in all its true glory, but they are an improvement.]
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